First time pet owner? Here are some hacks…

Pet owner

Bringing home a new dog or a cat is exciting, but it is a lifelong commitment which you should prepare well for.

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You may have been spending a good bit of time finalising and implementing your resolutions for the New Year and maybe getting a furry companion was one of them.

Bringing home a new dog or a cat is exciting, but it is a lifelong commitment which you should prepare well for.

Choose wisely

Research the type of pet that you are getting. You want to get one which matches your lifestyle, space and budget. Different pets have different energy levels and exercise requirements. If it is a dog you are getting, are you looking for a companion for your daily jogs and weekend hiking or do you want a furry friend to chill with at home? Also, consider how trainable they are, their shedding levels, grooming requirements and their temperament.

Cats appreciate a good amount of exercise. Some people take walks with their cats but if that is not you, get them interactive toys which they can chase. Toys make your cat feel like it is still an ancient predator. Interactive toys don’t have to be expensive. A toilet paper roll, a paper bag, a crinkled ball of foil or even tying a feather on one end of the stick will have your domesticated cat leap with joy.

Baby or adult

Most people prefer getting a kitten or a puppy instead of a fully grown adult pet. Kittens and puppies are adorable but they also require more attention. They need training and for some puppies, you are not sure how they will grow up to look and act, especially if they are mixed breeds. Eventual adult size, coat type, activity level and temperament are just a guess when you are looking at a tiny puppy. Adopting an adult dog is easier. Most have basic obedience training and you get to see their size, energy level and personality that you are working with.

Immediately you get the cat or the dog, get them an identification for easy reunite in case they wander off. Pet tags are inexpensive and available in most pet shops and you can have them engrave the pet’s name and your contact information.

Also, get into a routine immediately after the pet is home. Feed at the same time every day and go for walks around the same time and schedule short training sessions.

Also, clearly and gently enforce house rules and reward them lavishly with praise and the occasional treat when they do the right thing.

Maryanne is a pet owner.